Do You Give Your Heart Away Too Soon?
BY ANITA MARTIN
Do you give your heart away too easily or to the wrong people over and over again? Does this happen only in romantic connections or is it characteristic of many of your relationships? Are you a giving person, but seem to be involved with others who take advantage of you? While these are common scenarios, the way in which we relate to others may reflect relationship patterns. If you have noticed you have the same type of relationship with different people, are consistently treated poorly, or feel used in your connections, it may be time to take a closer look.
Initially, you may become aware that you struggle in certain areas of your relationships or in very specific contexts. People learn to relate to one another in early childhood interactions. Relationships with caregivers are so vital, a child may be negatively impacted by inadequate interaction. In extreme situations, early connections may be a matter of survival and may lower a child’s ability to thrive and develop resilience. So, it makes sense that most of us have a distinct way of relating that may have been incompletely developed. Still, we can overcome poor relationship modeling and grow to make healthier choices in our connections.
How do you decide whether to engage in a new relationship? Do you have requirements that help you determine if and when you may want to deepen intimacy? In this context, intimacy refers to emotional vulnerability. It can be easy to notice mental and emotional intimacy only as an afterthought to physical intimacy. However, misinterpreting emotional cues can increase susceptibility to unhealthy situations. Intentionally choosing with whom you share your heart, how much to share, and when to do so is vital to your emotional safety in the relationship.
What are your first steps BEFORE sharing your heart?
Love Thyself I cannot emphasize this enough. When we hold unconscious beliefs about self-worth, personal capability, and what we deserve in and from our relationships, these thoughts can unintentionally enter our connections. While many of us have negative beliefs about ourselves, we can change them! Learn to believe that you are unique, lovely, and worthy of unconditional love and affection. Write your story. Are the pages filled with criticism, unrealistic expectations, and self-judgment? When we are connected to our own worth, saying no to unhealthy relationships becomes about respecting your innate human value.
Know Thyself Understanding who you are, identifying your needs, and noticing what you bring to any relationship will offer the best opportunity for relationship success. If you don’t truly know yourself, how can another person know you? How can one distinguish between you and your partner?
Trust Thyself No one has a right to unearned trust. No one. Instead, trust yourself. Self-trust will grow naturally from genuine self-regard and self-knowledge. Remember trusted relationships are proven and acquired over time. If you trust others without qualification, a therapist may be able to help identify the reasons.
Protect Thyself People are at their most vulnerable in relationships. Good connections are healing, supportive, and nurturing. Unhealthy partnerships compromise those involved on many levels including emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically. If a foundation of self-love and self-knowledge has been developed, you will be less likely to give your heart to an undeserving someone. You are the only person who can protect yourself from poor or destructive relationships.